Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Jet Li's Fearless... You have nothing to fear but Fearless itself.
Jet Li's Fearless (Huo Yuan Jia) : 6 out of 10: This movie is a true near miss. For most of its running time it is action packed with handsome photography and gritty realistic fight scenes. To bad a too predictable by half story and Jet Li's performance hold it back from greatness.
What the move does right however it does very well indeed. The fight scenes are extremely well choreographed and differ in tone and skill from each other. Except for the final fight they are all very satisfying. They range from an acrophobic set piece early on above a busy city square to a humorous match between Li and a boxer that reminds one of Rocky's fight against Hulk Hogan in Rocky 3.
There is no obvious wire work or CGI involved this is the real deal. Had the movie stuck with it's strengths it would have been much better off.
Unfortunately halfway through the film Jet Li's character (A loosely interpreted version of a real historical Chinese patriot) decides to forgo fighting for a life in an idyllic rice patty. Like the picture perfect Japanese village in The Last Samurai the rice patty is an idolized place with supermodel blind girls and hobbits. (Okay I made the hobbits part up; but try to watch those scenes and not think of Middle Earth.)
Jet Li's acting in the transformation scenes is wanting and his costars (especially best friend Dong Yong) steal every scene they are in. It is hard to get emotionally connected with the character (Who goes from brash youth to wise old man after a couple of rice plantings with little transformation and no gray area or shadings of personality. Both characterizations are extremely broad and simply seem two different people.)
This leads to a surprisingly sterile finale. I simply couldn't care about the character or his cause. Though the story is more fleshed out than say in Hero the character is simply to broad to identify with as an individual. That said, I did like the fight scenes.
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